The May/June 2012 Cordillera Ranch Living featured Olympic coach, Rose Monday, and one of her top athletes, Maggie Vessey. Poised to go to the Olympic Trials, Maggie and Rose were upbeat and ready to take on the world in the middle distance running competitions. Years of preparation and hard work had gotten them this far, and their goals were high.
Sometimes life just does not work out as you plan – and expect. In spite of the fact that Maggie had been routinely beating much of her competition in events leading up to the trials, it “just didn’t feel right” for her the day of the Olympic Trials Final and when your body doesn’t feel right sometimes it just doesn’t perform. Although she was disappointed to not make the Olympics, Maggie got right back to racing. Her drive is undeterred and her coach, Rose, left soon thereafter for the London Olympic Games with the rest of the team. We caught up with Rose a few moments before she left for the Games:
CRL: Rose, the most obvious question is: What happened?
Rose: There’s a lot of pressure with the Olympic Games and the Trials. The Trials are probably more difficult than the actual Games because we put such a focus on the Games. It can be overwhelming. The world championships are actually more competitive, but the Games get such a premium on them, and it scares so many of the athletes. So, the answer is that she just had a bad day. And it was just the worst day for it to happen. She knew she was ready to go and she just had a rough day at the office.
CRL: How is Maggie holding up?
Rose: She’s hurting a lot, but she jumped on a plane for another race and got back after it. She’s not done, though. Her contract with New Balance runs for another year, and they might renew that based on how she’s doing. Many of the athletes are still older than she is, and she has a lot of running left in her. The Games are every four years, but if you don’t make the games, it’s still an amazing experience. While it might feel like the end of the world, she knows that she’s still got some great chances. She has the talent to do it, and she has the resources to do it, and so she’s equipped and ready to move on.
CRL: What do you think caused her to not place where she wanted to be?
Rose: She just wasn’t able to execute the race plan, but she ran as hard as she could. She just didn’t feel right. A lot of running is mental, and when things get in the way, it can really throw you off your pace.
CRL: There were a lot of folks disappointed for Maggie and were really cheering the two of you on. Any words to those of us back home?
Rose: Yes, I am so thankful for the support and prayers from everyone back home. Everybody felt so connected to her and she was so appreciative for it, also. All of the well wishes and excitement was just wonderful and we enjoyed every minute of it.
CRL: But you’re still going to the Games with the USA Track and Field team – how excited are you?
Rose: I leave Sunday for London, and we have an amazing team. Our goal is 30 medals, and I think we can do it. And all the other athletes are so excited to go, but they are all missing Maggie so much and are being so supportive of her.
Shortly before Rose left for London, she sent a brief text message to me. Right after missing qualifying for the Games, Maggie left for another race; a race where she would be racing against the athletes that had made the team ahead of her. Rose’s text: “Maggie won her race. She beat many of the athletes that made the US Olympic team.”